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Guide to the Dodd-Frank Act

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

On Sept. 15, 2008, investment bank Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy and set off the worst financial crisis the world has seen since the Great Depression. Stock markets around the world cratered, millions of Americans lost their homes and U.S. unemployment rose as high as 10%.

In response to the crisis — sometimes called the Great Recession — Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. What has this bill done for regular consumers? This series covers the history and key provisions of Dodd-Frank, including how it impacts your everyday finances.

How does the Dodd-Frank Act regulate banks?

One of the main causes of the financial crisis was that banks made too many risky investments, especially in subprime mortgage loans. In the years leading up to 2008, large banks owed so much money to each other that if one went bankrupt, it would spread and cause other parts of the financial system to fail. These banks were in a situation where they were “too big to fail.”

The Dodd-Frank Act set up new regulations to prevent banks from getting to the point where they became too big to fail. First, the bill created the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) to monitor whether banks were taking on too much debt and putting themselves in a risky position.

If the FSOC determines that a bank is heading into dangerous territory, the council could require them to increase their reserve requirements, meaning the bank has to scale back its lending and hold on to more cash so they are less likely to go bankrupt.

Finally, Dodd-Frank required that every bank come up with a plan for a methodical shutdown should they become insolvent and find themselves unable to pay off their debts. That would help keep the problem from spreading to other financial institutions.

How does the Dodd-Frank Act help consumers?

The main goal of the Dodd-Frank act was to stabilize the banking sector so that consumers would not have to go through the pain and suffering of another financial crisis. Beyond this key mission, Dodd-Frank also set up additional protections for mortgage lending.

The financial crisis was partly caused by a subprime housing bubble. People took out mortgages they couldn’t afford, which included confusing costs like adjustable interest rates that could cause the monthly loan payment to go up.

According to David Reiling, CEO of Sunrise Banks, “Dodd-Frank mandated new mortgage loan disclosures that were designed to ensure costs were clear upfront and throughout the origination process, and also required creditors to verify income and debts to ensure a consumer could repay the loan.” As a result, shopping for a mortgage is safer and easier.

Finally, Dodd-Frank created a new regulatory agency specifically to help with consumer financial issues: the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The Dodd-Frank Act created the CFPB

The mission of the CFPB is to protect American consumers in the market for financial products and services while educating them to make better decisions. They oversee consumer loans, credit and debit cards, credit card reporting agencies and payday lenders.

The CFPB does this in a few different ways. First, they help consumers research their different options, both with tools on their website and by requiring lenders to make it easier for people to compare their products. For example, mortgage lenders must give you a new disclosure explaining their fees before you sign up.

Second, the CFPB educates consumers by providing free resources on financial planning, retirement and loans. Finally, consumers can file complaints with the CFPB and they will fine companies that engage in bad practices.

To date, the CFPB has helped over 31 million consumers and returned $12.4 billion to consumers that was previously lost to companies that broke the law.

How does the Durbin Amendment impact banks?

During the negotiations for the Dodd-Frank bill, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) sponsored an amendment to add a new regulation to the law. The Durbin Amendment set a limit to how much banks can charge for debit card transaction swipe fees.

Before the Durbin Amendment, banks were charging on average roughly 40 cents per debit card transaction. After this rule went into place, the Federal Reserve set a limit where banks could charge no more than 21 cents per transaction.

“The expectation was that the additional cost savings by the merchants would be passed on to consumers,” said Reiling. If businesses were paying less in transaction fees, they could lower their prices for American shoppers.

Need a new debit card to take advantage of the Durbin rule? These high yield checking accounts currently pay the highest interest rates.

How does the Dodd-Frank Act regulate financial markets?

Banks were far from the only cause of the financial crisis, which is why Dodd-Frank also created new rules for other parts of the market. First, the bill created the Office of Credit Rating at the SEC to oversee credit rating agencies like Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s.

These agencies review how likely creditor is to pay off a debt based on their financial situation. A company, government or investment with a AAA rating is supposed to be safer than one with a C rating. The problem was that agencies were too loose with their ratings before the financial crisis.

Brandon Renfro, Assistant Professor of Finance at East Texas Baptist University noted “A key issue in the mortgage crisis was that high credit ratings were given to derivatives of repackaged subprime loans. The goal of the new Office of Credit Rating is to reduce conflicts of interest and ensure that ratings are accurate reflections of risk.”

Dodd-Frank also launched the Volcker rule, which prohibits banks from participating in higher-risk activities like hedge funds, private equity funds and other proprietary trading. The bill created new regulations for high-risk investments called derivatives, which led to unexpectedly large losses for investors. Finally, Dodd-Frank created the Federal Insurance Office to oversee insurance companies.

The Dodd-Frank Act today

In response to the devastating losses of the Great Recession, the Obama administration used Dodd-Frank to revamp the rules for our financial markets. While the rules have some clear benefits for consumers, Dodd-Frank still has its share of critics who say it went too far: that it limits economic growth and restricts the ability of banks to lend.

This is why President Trump and the Republican party have taken steps to roll back parts of the law while still keeping the main framework in place. To see how the rules have changed, including how they helped increase credit union CD rates, check out the next part of our series.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

David Rodeck
David Rodeck |

David Rodeck is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email David here

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Banking

How to Send Money to Mexico

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

If you have family or friends in Mexico, you’ll find that the process of sending them money from the United States is easier and cheaper than ever before. There is a plethora of services today that offer a variety of options for getting your hard-earned dollars converted to pesos and sent south of the border.

Have you been using the same service to send funds for ages? Time to figure out if you can find a better deal. We’ve looked at a range of different international money transfer companies, and tallied their options and the fees involved to send money to Mexico.

How to send money internationally

Not very long ago, there was really only one way to send money to Mexico from the United States. You’d visit a bricks-and-mortar transfer agent and send the money in person. Online remittance services have challenged the traditional money transfer agencies that maintain lots of physical outlets.

Whether you stick with the agency down the block or go online, you’ve got options for how the recipient can get their funds, via bank transfer or cash pickup. The sender can send money via cash, bank transfer, debit card or credit card.

Dan Canning, U.S. managing director at WorldRemit, cautions consumers to use a reputable money transfer service, especially ones that require you to verify your information and so you can minimize the risk of fraud.

“Online money transfer operators can mitigate some of the risks and issues involved with cash-based remittances because they are able to use advanced technology to validate customer identities and ensure the integrity of their customers’ personal information,” he said.

“The electronic footprint generated by online transfers can also act as a strong deterrent to criminal groups who seek to victimize consumers through fraud scams.”

Compare services to send money to Mexico

We’ve looked at the services of seven competing international money transfer companies to give you a feel for the competitive landscape.

Company

Cost to send $100 to Mexico

Time it takes to get to recipient

MoneyGram

At a physical office: $9.99
Online bank transfer: $1.73
Credit or debit card online: $1.99

Bank transfer: 3-4 business days
Credit/Debit card: within minutes
Cash: within minutes

Remitly

Bank transfer: $3.99
Debit card: $3.99

Bank transfer: 3-5 business days
Debit card: Within minutes

Ria

Bank transfer: $1
Debit Card: $2
Credit Card: $4
Cash: $9

Up to 4 business days

TransferWise

$2.64

1 business day

Western Union

Online to recipient’s bank account: $4.99
Online, if recipient picks up cash
Credit card: $8.50
Sending via physical branch: $4
Via bank transfer: $2.99

Anywhere from within minutes up to 5 business days, depending on how you send funds

WorldRemit

Via bank transfer: $2.99
Cash pickup: $1.99 to $4.99, depending on location

Within the same business day

Xoom

$4.99

15 minutes or less

Send money to Mexico with MoneyGram

MoneyGram MoneyGram offers a quick service feature that lets you send money within minutes for cash pickup. The company also allows you send money online once you register for a free account, or you can stop by any one of their 350,000 locations worldwide.

Beware that MoneyGram has some of the more costly options for sending money abroad, but you can minimize your costs by using a bank transfer and sending money to your recipient’s bank account. However, this low-cost option means it could take from three to four business days for funds to arrive in Mexico.

Send money to Mexico with Remitly

Remitly Remitly lets you send money via bank transfer — what it calls the economy option — or debit card — what it calls the express option. To initiate a transfer, you’ll need to register for an account online, though you’re limited to sending up to $30,000 within the first 24 hours after account registration depending on what personal information you provide. The recipient can pick up their cash at over 15,000 participating locations.

The express option gets your money to Mexico in minutes, while the economy option means your funds will arrive within three to five business days. Remitly offers a money-back guarantee if your funds don’t arrive on time.

Send money to Mexico with Ria

Ria Ria allows you to send money at any one of their 369,000 branches worldwide or online. It has partnered with the PayNearMe app where you can initiate a transfer online, then head to the nearest participating 7-Eleven to drop off the cash.

To send money, stop off at any one of their branches or create an online account. Once you verify your personal information, select how you want to pay — bank transfer, debit or credit card — and how you want the recipient to receive their funds, whether it’s through bank deposit or cash pickup.

The cheapest option is to send it money to your recipient’s bank account via a bank transfer online. You can’t send more than $2,999.99 per day, or $999.99 for Arizona and Oklahoma residents. It’ll also take up to four business days, assuming Ria doesn’t require additional safety checks.

Send money to Mexico with TransferWise

TransferWise TransferWise offers a variety of payment options — ACH transfer, bank transfer, debit or credit card payment — but the recipient will need a bank account to receive funds. Transferwise offers customers currency exchange using the mid-market rate — there are no markups and it’s based on the “real” exchange rate, like the ones you find on websites like XE.com.

To send money to Mexico, you’ll need to start off by opening an account with Transferwise and complete the verification process. Once complete, you can initiate a transfer by logging into your account and indicating how much money you want to send and the transfer method.

Transferwise lets you send up to $10,000 every 24 hours per order using ACH transfer and up to $50,000 with other methods. As soon as Transferwise receives your funds, it claims it’ll arrive in your recipient’s account within one business day.

Send money to Mexico with Western Union

Western Union As one of the largest money transfer companies in the world, Western Union offers a myriad of options to send and receive money. You can show up at any one of their 42,000 branches in the U.S., online or via their mobile app, and pay via bank transfer, cash or even Apple Pay.

Once you register for a free account online, you can select where you want to send money, the payment method and how you want the recipient to receive their funds. The cheapest option is via bank transfer and have the recipient pick up cash at a Western Union location, which can take up to four business days to arrive.

Send money to Mexico with WorldRemit

WorldRemit Launched in 2010, WorldRemit allows users to send money online or via a mobile device. You can send money in a variety of ways, including bank transfer, with a credit or debit card or via Apple Pay. Your recipient can do a cash pickup at a participating location — some locations will have higher fees than others — or receive the funds in their bank account.

You’ll need to open an online account with WorldRemit and verify your identity using an official ID. Once complete, you then select how you want to pay for the transfer and delivery method. The cheapest option is cash pickup at certain locations, and the money should be available instantly.

Send money to Mexico with Xoom

Xoom Xoom is owned by Paypal, which means you can use your Paypal account to send cash, but you can only use a linked bank account, credit card or debit card to send funds. The recipient can pick up the cash at over 35,000 participating locations or have the money sent to their bank account.

To send money, you’ll need to register for an account with Xoom. Once you provide all required documentation, you can transfer up to $50,000 every 24 hours or up to $60,000 each month. If you want to send more than $10,000, it could delay processing times — up to two to three business days on top of normal processing times even for the cheapest option.

Shop around for your best rate

When comparing money transfers services, you’ll want to see how much it’ll cost you in fees and approximate time of arrival. Money remittance services make money through fees and markups in their currency exchange rates. However, exchange rates are constantly in flux, which means that if you find a low-cost option today, doesn’t mean it’ll be true within a few days.

“Exchange rate fluctuations are caused by supply and demand changes in the FX market, which are in turn, affected by a variety of financial and economic factors,” Canning said.

Money transfer services make use of exchange rates to help you transfer money. Even if you find a good rate, it could go up within hours, meaning that $100 you send to your aunt in Mexico is no longer worth as much as it was before.

Canning also mentions that remittance services can guarantee a certain currency exchange rate with a specified amount of time. Places like WorldRemit can choose to receive email or text alerts of currency exchange rates to find optimal times to send money. If possible, sign up for these alerts so you can try to get a more favorable rate.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Sarah Li Cain
Sarah Li Cain |

Sarah Li Cain is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Sarah Li here

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Banking

Western Union Money Transfer Review

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Western Union has been a consistent leader in the money transfer business. The company has come a long way from its founding in 1851, when it was begun as a telegram service. The first Western Union money transfer wasn’t introduced until twenty years later in 1871. In 2000, the company entered the digital age, offering online money transfers to its customers. It added on its Mobile Money Transfer Service seven years later, further expanding into the digital payments space.

Today, Western Union operates in over 200 countries and territories. In 2018, it moved more than $300 billion in principal globally, handling transactions in 130 currencies.

Although you can’t send a Western Union telegram anymore — the last one was sent back in 2006 — you can take advantage of its wide range of financial services. Let’s take a look at the ways you can send and receive money through Western Union.

Western Union key features

  • Flexible transfer limits: Your transfer limits depend on factors that include your location, the recipient’s location and payment method. Limits are variable based on the service you choose and agent location.
  • Multiple payment options: When sending money online, you can choose to make your payment through a debit card, credit card, bank account or wire transfer. You can also indicate whether your recipient wants to receive cash or a bank account transfer. If your recipient wants to receive cash, you can also initiate a transaction online and visit your nearest Western Union location to make the payment.
  • Widespread global access: If you need to visit a physical location, there are over 550,000 agent locations in more than 200 countries and territories.
  • Track your transfers: Whether you’re the sender or the recipient, you can track your transfer both on the website and WU app.
  • Online bill pay: Western Union allows you to pay thousands of billers so you can easily make payments for your mortgage, utilities, credit cards and more, in one place. This service is available online, in the app, over the phone and at WU locations.
  • Western Union app: Available on both Android and Apple products, the WU app allows you to send money and keep track of your transfers anywhere and at any time.
  • Western Union membership program: My WU® is a membership rewards program that earns points on the fees you pay to send money. You can redeem the points for service discounts and other rewards.

Sending a money transfer with Western Union

Anyone can send and receive money with Western Union, as long as you’re at least 18 years old. You must also have your recipient’s information ready to make a transfer, including their name as it appears on their government-issued ID, street address and, if applicable, bank account information.

  • How long does a transfer take? Some transfers take only a few minutes. This includes Mobile Money Transfer and the Money in Minutes service for pickup at a location. Other transfer methods like Next Day service, Direct to Bank and Bill Payment can take one to five business days.
  • Where can you send money? You can send money to recipients in over 200 countries and territories.
  • How much can you send? Your transfer limit depends on a few factors, namely your recipient’s location and method of transfer. For example, if you’re in the U.S. and want to send money to someone in the U.S., you’re allowed up to $5,000 USD per online or app transaction. If you want to send money to someone in the Philippines, your limit increases to $19,000 USD.

Send money online with Western Union

To send money online or with the WU app, you’ll need to have a Western Union account. You can easily create one when you make your first transfer, with your name, date of birth, email and residential address. Creating an account allows you to save payment methods and recipients for further ease in the future.

Once you’re ready to send money online, you can select the destination and enter the amount and currency of your transfer. Then you choose whether your recipient will get the money through a cash pickup, bank transfer or a Mobile Money Transfer. Next, select how you would like to pay, whether by credit or debit card, bank account or with cash at a WU location. Note that you cannot pay in store if you’re sending money to a recipient’s bank account.

Send money in person at a Western Union location

You can visit a Western Union office to send money with cash or a debit card, where accepted. Western Union also allows you to start a money transfer online or on your app, then pay in cash at a location.

Send money over the phone with Western Union

If you’re sending money from the U.S. to a recipient in the U.S., you also have the option of making a transfer by calling the Telephone Money Transfer hotline at 1-800-CALL-CASH.

Western Union fees and fine print

Your fees will vary according to your payment selections, like whether you’re sending money with cash or through a bank account, or whether your recipient is collecting cash or getting a bank transfer. The amount transferred will also determine the fees charged; generally, the higher the amount, the higher the fees. Western Union has a price estimator to help you figure out the cost of your money transfer before you commit.

Let’s take a look at the different fees you could pay if you were sending $400 from the U.S. to a recipient in the U.S., depending on how your recipient is receiving the money — cash pickup or bank account transfer — and your method of payment — debit card, credit card or bank account.

 

Debit card

Credit card

Bank account

Pay in store

Cash pickup

$54.99

$66.99

$11

$5

Bank account

$15

$17

$0.99

N/A

Note that while you can use a credit card to send money, your credit card issuer will consider this a cash advance. Cash advances typically trigger an extra fee on your credit card and a higher interest rate. They also tend to begin accruing interest immediately, rather than waiting for the next pay period.

Is Western Union a good money transfer service to use?

Pros:

Cons:

  • Widespread access: Western Union has over 550,000 agent locations in more than 200 countries and territories.
  • Flexible payment options: You can send money in the most convenient way for you from bank transfers to in-person cash payments.
  • Flexible delivery options: You can also receive money in a few different ways with Western Union, whether you want to pick up cash or receive a mobile wallet transfer.
  • Variety of products and services: Western Union isn’t only good for money transfers. You can also use it for money orders and bill payment services, and they offer a prepaid debit card.
  • Potentially high fees: Sending money to wealthier nations will cost more in fees.
  • Lacking customer service: Many reviews of Western Union have indicated some room for improvement in its customer service.
  • Hectic website: If you just need to send money, pay a bill, track a transfer or pick up cash, you can easily find buttons for those functions at the top of the site. However, if you’re looking for further information, you’ll find it a bit more difficult to navigate.

Western Union money orders and other services

In addition to its vast money transfer capabilities, Western Union also offers some other handy financial services.

  • Money orders: Money orders are alternatives to checks or cold cash. You can get a money order at any Western Union location in Canada or the U.S.
  • Prepaid debit card: The Western Union® Netspend® Prepaid Mastercard® allows you to store and spend your money without needing a checking account. There’s no credit check either, so you can open a card even with bad credit or banking history. You can access the card online and on the WU app to make transfers, deposit checks and pay your bills. The card even earns cash back and offers the chance to get your paycheck up to two days early with direct deposit.When you open the card, it’s automatically enrolled in the Pay-As-You-Go Plan, which charges $1 per signature purchase and $2 per PIN purchase in lieu of a static monthly fee. You can switch to either a Monthly Plan or Reduced Monthly Plan, however, which cost $9.95 and $5 per month, respectively, instead of per transaction.
  • Bill payments: Western Union allows you to pay your bills, including mortgage, auto, credit card, insurance, utility and government payments, as long as the biller is a participating entity. You can pay your bills on WU.com, on the WU app, in person and over the phone with Telephone Money Transfer. No matter how you pay, you’ll need the biller’s name, account number and amount.Paying your bills through Western Union will cost a fee, depending on how much you send and the company to which you’re sending.

Alternative money transfer options

MoneyGram and TransferWise are international money transfer companies providing similar services to Western Union.

TransferWise

TransferWise commits to keeping fees and exchange rates low, charging only what it costs to send the transfer itself. It’s also transparent about the fees it does charge when you enter your payment amount, recipient country and origin country in its pricing calculator. On the whole, the more money you send, the higher the fees will be, since TransferWise charges a percentage of the amount you’re sending, unless you send a small amount of money, which will cost a small set fee.

  • How long does a transfer take? Transfers can take as long as a few minutes to a few days. It will depend on your method of payment, the country you’re sending to and from and other factors. TransferWise’s tool can also give you an estimation of when your payment should arrive.
  • Where can you send money? You can send money between Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe. Note that TransferWise is entirely digital; you cannot visit a location to send money with cash or checks.
  • How much can you send? You can send a maximum of $50,000 per day and $250,000 per year.

MoneyGram

If you still need access to a physical location, MoneyGram can be a good alternative. It has thousands of locations and reaches just about as many as countries and territories as Western Union so you can send or pick up money just about anywhere. The exact fees for sending money via MoneyGram depend on how much you’re sending and the method of sending. You can use MoneyGram’s Estimate Fees tool so you can determine the true cost of sending money before you make the transaction.

  • How long does a transfer take? If you’re sending money to be picked up as cash, the funds can usually be picked up within minutes, subject to location hours, destination country and availability. If you’re sending money to a bank account, it can take as little as an hour to the next day, depending on a few factors, including the country you’re sending to.
  • Where can you send money? MoneyGram maintains over 350,000 locations in over 200 countries and territories. There are over 30,000 locations in the U.S. and you can often send money at convenient locations like CVS Pharmacy or Walmart. You can also send money online and through the MoneyGram app.
  • How much can you send? You can typically send up to $10,000 per online transfer and up to $10,000 every 30 calendar days.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Lauren Perez
Lauren Perez |

Lauren Perez is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lauren here

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